Back to listApr 15, 2006

Boston Research Center for the 21st Century Pays Tribute to Four Educators at 2006 AERA Symposium

Andrew Gebert speaks on Makiguchi's educational theory

On April 10, the Boston Research Center (BRC) hosted an international symposium entitled "Four Enduring Philosophies of Education and the Challenges Facing Teachers Today" during the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the foremost international organization for advancing educational research. This year's gathering, which attracted researchers from 48 countries, was held in San Francisco in early April. The AERA symposium offered a preview of the Center's forthcoming book, Moral Visions of the Philosophy and Practice of Education (working title), which brings together the ideas and legacies of 10 twentieth-century thinkers on education and is being edited by David Hansen of Teachers College, Columbia University. The symposium attracted almost 100 educators interested in the work of four philosophers from the volume: Maria Montessori, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Rabindranath Tagore, and John Dewey. The relevance of each philosopher's educational thought to teachers today was explored through presentations by scholars of educational philosophy who are also contributors to the BRC's forthcoming book: Jacqueline Cossentino (Universtiy of Maryland), Andrew Gebert (Waseda University), Kathleen O'Connell (University of Toronto), and David Hansen (Teachers College, Columbia University). Before each presentation, symposium chair Doris Santoro Gomez (Bowdoin College) sketched out a brief biography of each historical figure. After all presentations were completed, Ann Diller of the University of New Hampshire shared her insights as Discussant.

The theme of the panel mirrored the theme of the book--how the moral vision and critical thinking of courageous educators responding to challenging times created philosophies and practices with enduring impact. As a focal point for the panel, each presenter explored the respective educator's attitude toward knowledge and emphasized the ways in which the child's innate knowledge was viewed as foundational to learning.

[Extract from a full report by BRC Executive Director Virginia Benson found on BRC site:]